Every week we receive questions from our community members, asking for advice on topics of life, love, career and more. This week we heard from Heather who is struggling with how to get over the loss of a friend. Here is our advice.
Q – Hi, I’m Heather. My best friend and I had a huge fight a few months ago and haven’t spoken since. She really hurt me and I don’t want to be friends any longer, but I’m finding it really hard to forget about it and move on. We were friends for a long time so it’s hard to get used to not having her around. What can I do to make it easier to move on?
A – Hi, Heather. Thank you so much for your question. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. Losing a friend is always hard, especially a best friend. Our friends are the extended family members that we get to choose and they are there beside us during all of the ups and downs of life, celebrating when things go well and supporting us through the bad stuff.
A friend breakup is even harder than a romantic one in a lot of ways, so it can be even harder to get over. When you break up with a romantic partner, you have your best friend to console you and help you through it. With a friend breakup though, this is even harder. However, it’s not impossible. Here is our advice on how to get over the loss of a friend.
Accept what happened
Moving on from the end of a relationship is very similar to coping with grief after the death of a loved one, and so you’ll probably go through the usual stages when moving on from the loss of your friendship. The final stage of grief is acceptance. It’s important to accept what has happened and stop yourself from wondering ‘what if?’. Wondering what would happen if things had gone differently will only serve to drive you crazy and stop you from moving on.
Allow yourself to feel
It can be tempting to ignore or deny how you’re feeling and pretend that you’re fine with what has happened, but this will only prolong the process of moving on. Suppressed feelings always surface eventually so it’s best to face and deal with them head-on.
Allow yourself to feel sad about the end of your friendship. Your friend hurt you, so you’re allowed to be angry, too. It may be hard at first, but letting yourself feel your feelings is healthy and helps you process what has happened. The most important thing is how you manage and express these feelings.
Write it all down
Expressing and letting out your feelings is necessary when you’re hurt, but it’s important to do it in a healthy way. When you’re hurt, it’s tempting to send angry messages to hurt that person back. However, this will only make you feel worse in the long run.
One good way to get your feelings off your chest is to write them all down in a letter. Write a letter to your friend telling them exactly how you feel, holding nothing back. Release all of your feelings, and then destroy the letter. This is a very cathartic process that helps you feel better by saying exactly what you need to without any further consequences.
Keep yourself busy
Without your friend, you’ll probably find yourself with a lot of extra time that would usually be spent with them. It’s important not to spend this time doing nothing because that will lead to you dwelling on things and feeling worse. Instead, fill up this time with fun and exciting things to keep you busy and distracted.
You could join a class or take up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to do, or you could spend more time with family and other friends. Anything that keeps you busy and your mind off your ex-friend is good, and after a while it will feel natural to not have them there.
Make new friends
You don’t necessarily need to make a new best friend straight away. Missing your best friend doesn’t mean you should replace them. However, spending more time with other friends and making new ones is always good. Joining a class is a great way to make new friends. Doing something that is out of your comfort zone helps people form quick and strong bonds and makes for great friendships.
One silver lining of having the extra time is that you can spend more time focusing and nourishing your other friendships. When we spend so much time with one friend, our other friendships can often be neglected a little. Now is the time to reach out to those who you may have grown distance from recently and reconnect. You never know, one of your other friends may grow to become your new best friend.